Home fire

There is no fireplace without fire. However, there is an electrical similarity from the category “heating device” with painted fire and coals. But gentlemen! It’s not serious.

Today we are talking about real wood-burning fireplaces, in which it is so pleasant to stretch your legs, relax and imagine yourself – Well, let’s say, the ingenious Sherlock Holmes, who returned from another business on Baker Street, 221b.

Evening. The room is warm and cozy, the wood is quietly crackling, your beloved dog is dozing at your feet. At such moments it seems that the whole world has narrowed down to the size of this flaming window, where tongues of flame dance for you and mysterious flashes flare up. As it turns out, little is needed for happiness and peace. But so that your peace is not disturbed, remember: you have tamed a real, living fire and you need to treat its “house” with respect..

Home fire

What is a fireplace that has come down to us through the centuries practically unchanged? Not a complicated design. In order to equip your house with a fireplace, it is not at all necessary to be a hereditary stove-maker, whose great-grandfather fulfilled the order of the ungrateful Ilyich. The main thing is to understand how difficult it is to put a fireplace in your modern home..

Poor fellow Golitsyn (not a prince, but the hero of Altov’s humoresque) decided to build a fireplace in an ordinary apartment. Built. And Mr. Golitsyn did not realize that the pleasure of the fireplace, which was assembled and installed incorrectly, would last no more than half an hour. But let’s not complicate the task, because ensuring the notorious “safety” when installing a fireplace is not difficult at all.

The fireplace, as a source of heat, does not in any way affect the reliability and strength of the house structure. At the same time, it (in most models) is installed on the floor and has a foundation v a wide stone base. A classic fireplace assembly (that is, a firebox, a chimney and, if any, decorative facing) weighs a lot: from 100 kilograms to a ton. If the house is made of reinforced concrete or brick, with strong and reliable ceilings, then it is not necessary to lay the foundation under the fireplace. In a wooden house, the situation is different. The absence of a foundation can lead to shrinkage and deformation of the floor. The house, of course, will not fall apart, but the chimney will shift in relation to the fireplace itself and cracks and cracks will appear at the joints. They may be barely noticeable, but they are quite enough for smoke leakage.

Chimneys are of two types: brick (not expensive, simple in design) and sandwich pipes. The first ones have many joint seams, which require close attention. When laying bricks, cement, through the carelessness or carelessness of workers, may end up on the inner surface of the chimney, where the frozen “elements” will become an obstacle to the exit of smoke and will actively collect soot on themselves. Therefore, experts recommend installing a metal pencil case inside a brick chimney. It not only removes smoke better, but is easier and faster to clean.

The chimney of the second type has a more complicated structure, but more reliable: several so-called “sandwich” pipes are tightened at the joints with hoops-clamps. Through these joints, the smoke is closed. In addition, section pipes are not as “straightforward” as brick chimneys. They can be “twisted” (maximum bending angle v 450) and brought out in any convenient place. And the draft in such a chimney is usually better. However, routing along (inside or through) a wall will require protective measures v reliable two-layer insulation. Special materials will not only save heat, but also save the house from fire. Of course, there can be no talk of any neighborhood of a chimney with electrical wiring or gas pipes!

We are not firemen, we are not carpenters

What is nice, the fireplace is a universal thing. The choice of model and location in the house depends solely on the wishes of the owner. That is, you can install anything, and anywhere. A glass pyramid in the middle of the room, a ball suspended from the ceiling, a à la russe stove, a window in the wall or a massive Victorian fireplace. The question is what to put next.

Perhaps the interior of the room asks for some decorative additions to the fireplace, but how could you then not regret the artistic delights. Any material not approved by the fireplace manufacturer is another reason to meet with firefighters. Whatever intricate cladding made of fireproof wood or non-combustible foam is offered to you by a self-taught magician or an eloquent shop assistant – refuse the tempting offer. Further. No matter how much you would like to arrange a space by the fireplace for a forest corner or a museum of family values, we must not forget that fire can cause trouble even at a distance. There is such a term v “extreme heating”. Not the best way to get to know him is to lament over the crumpled expensive furniture, which has been moved a dangerous distance to the fireplace. But how do you determine “where you can”? Where you will feel comfortable for a long time, furniture, paintings, household appliances, carpets and other household items will feel the same way. The same applies to photographs, clocks, vines, lace napkins and vases on the mantels – your hand will tell you if everything is in order.

It makes sense to check with the seller about the temperature regime around the fireplace: you can put a candlestick near some models, and the candles in it will not even melt – other models do not like to be approached close to them, all the more so that something is placed on their shelf. By the way, veteran firefighters claim that Salvador Dali copied his famous “flowing” clock in the house of a friend who forgot it on the shelf of a well-heated fireplace.

Modern fireplaces, when properly operated, do not require an iron sheet to be laid on the floor, and the space in front of the fireplace resembles an empty parking lot. Nevertheless, the passages to the fireplace must be clear. Glass cabinet “01” with hatchets, hoses, sand box and fire extinguishers looks funny to say the least. But there is fire and there must be a means of dealing with it. If the house is not equipped with a fire extinguishing system, then surveillance is the best means. Consider that in the presence of the descendants of Prometheus, the fire behaves quietly, and maintaining the hearth is a fascinating and pleasant process in itself.

Kindle not ignite

It is naive to think that a fireplace can heat a large room. Alas, it is not intended for this. Therefore, attempts to turn the fireplace into a raging blast furnace, piling heaps of logs into the firebox, are doomed to failure in advance. The most harmless result in this case is the clogging of the chimney. In general, it is recommended to heat the fireplace no more than four hours a day. In this case (with decent service) it will last more than ten years without hassle. It is clear that if you heat around the clock, then the service life will be less.

Dry logs of deciduous trees are best suited for stoking the fireplace. Coniferous logs “cry” with resin, the fumes of which are very harmful to health and, moreover, have a habit of loudly popping and shooting sparks. And if the first only scares the cat, who climbed to warm up on your lap, the second will leave a reminder on your clothes about the wrong choice of fuel. Do not forget about the excess soot that settles on the inner surface of the chimney from resinous logs..

But choosing firewood is half the battle. In order to light the fireplace, they need to be laid out correctly. In order not to look like a grimy entertainer by the fireplace, it is worth recalling the experience of folding and lighting a pioneer fire with a “hut”, “well”, wood chips and paper. Better yet, purchase special grates for stacking firewood. Their shape is different, and the purpose is the same v from such a “dish” the fire eats up its food completely, carefully “chewing” it. God forbid you to pour flammable substances like gasoline on firewood, unless, of course, you are concerned about urgently obtaining insurance for your house! In Bradbury’s story “It’s Gonna Rain,” the automaton was equipped with an incinerator. The fireplace is far from fiction. It cannot and should not be a garbage can: what at first glance seems quite flammable in reality can turn out to be a very dangerous delayed-melting bomb or, even worse, toxic combustion. From time immemorial, only firewood was burned in the fireplace. And they sat nearby, enjoying the peace. Why not follow suit?

But before starting a fire, you need to remove the air column, which forms in the cold chimney and prevents the formation of good draft. To do this, it is enough to send a long match, a rolled-up newspaper, a splinter or a long fireplace lighter into the chimney and warm it up for a while. This must be done, because if the draft does not lure the clouds of smoke into the chimney, then they will most likely go into a scattered wandering around the house..

Drowning fire

Fireplace inserts are of two types: open and closed. The first v fireclay, built of refractory bricks, as a rule, decorated with sly curls, with a shelf made of some tropical wood. But an open firebox, like a playful child, is undesirable to leave unattended. Cast-iron, closed, fireboxes “burn” better and are less dangerous. Such a firebox is made of high-quality cast iron (the walls must be at least 8 mm thick), it has an ash collector, a built-in damper and a door with a window through which you can see the bewitching life of the hearth. But no matter how refractory the glass is, you should not experiment with it. For example, splashing water into the hearth. Splashes accidentally hitting the glass can create such a temperature difference that it will crack, and even worse v will burst. You will get an open fireplace. Happiness that not at the cost of combat wounds. The door should be opened slowly in order to avoid a sharp influx of air into the firebox. Otherwise, the reverse flow can burn your hands. By the way, the best cast iron fireplaces are equipped with a control mechanism: the door opens only when the damper is open. And between the door itself and the glass, a ventilation gap is provided, which provides an air curtain that prevents the deposition of soot on the glass.

The rule for adjusting traction is incomparably simpler than adjusting an automobile carburetor: the more the throttle is open, the better the thrust. However, the carburetor does not work after the engine is turned off, and the firebox, after being extinguished, continues to absorb oxygen. Therefore, you need to immediately wean yourself from the suicidal habit of closing the flap tightly. The firebox, like a living creature, can awaken from the only ember lurking in the corner. Therefore, if the air access is not completely blocked, then carbon monoxide poisoning can occur. There is one more rule: clean the firebox and retractable ash collector after every evening spent by the fireplace..

In an open firebox, a protective screen acts as a door. It is made from fireproof glass or metal. This accessory is a reliable barrier against shooting sparks. (By the way, it is possible to order doors to open fireplaces). However, small arsonists are the result not only of bad firewood, but also of tedding unburned “stumps”. A special tool was invented for the maintenance of fireplaces a long time ago. The universal set includes a poker, tongs, spatula and brush. They can be as graceful as you like, but they have one function: to safely maintain the fireplace. The poker is the best item for stirring and raking coals. It is convenient to move the logs with tongs. It is clear that the spatula and brush are for cleaning the fireplace.

Chimney sweep is fortunately

The fireplace is ready to serve a person for many years. You just need not to be lazy and once a year v before the heating season v carry out a “technical inspection”. This is not difficult. The chimney tends to clog up over time. It is unlikely that the owner should play the role of a chimney sweep. The specialist knows best how to clean the chimney without scattering its contents throughout the house. Along the way, he will check the condition of the seams, joints, carefully inspect the firebox and promptly detect faults in the operation of the fireplace.

In principle, you don’t have to bother yourself with unnecessary care. But the less often you do this, the less your enjoyment of the fireplace will be. You shouldn’t diminish it.

Alexey Nekatayev

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